NHS Health

Government health campaign 'One You' criticised for its patronising tone


By Tony Connelly, Sports Marketing Reporter

March 7, 2016 | 2 min read

The government’s new £3m health campaign urging people to watch their weight has been branded a patronising waste of money by a leading London think tank.

One You campaign

Public Health England (PHE) has launched its 'One You' campaign today (7 March) across billboards, TV, social media and even petrol pumps in a bid to raise the public consciousness of the dangers of gaining too much weight and not exercising enough.

One You petrol pump

The campaign also features an online quiz which generates tailored advice on how to break bad habits while also pointing to different PHE apps and services including the Easy Meals recipe app and the Change4Life Drinks Tracker.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, flagged up that obesity, excessive drinking, smoking and lack of exercise cost the NHS £11bn a year and unless people start leading a healthier lifestyle the service would be unable to cope.

The campaign has been heavily criticised for its “patronising” tone however. Christopher Snowdon, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: “It is astounding that this hectoring quango is squandering £3 million promoting a tedious website that nobody will visit.

“Whilst there is nothing wrong with health education, there is very little that is educational about this patronising money pit. Even when they are explicitly targeting middle-aged people, Public Health England cannot resist talking to us as if we were children.”

PHE has partnered with a number of brands to launch the campaign, including Asda, Boots and the BBC. In a first for the government department it has also partnered with Amazon which has dedicated a section of its site to wellness and health products.

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